What Your Business and an Island Community Should Have in Common

I grew up on Peaks Island, Maine. Peaks is a small island off the coast of Portland with an average population of about 800. Last week I spent the whole week on Martha’s Vineyard, and while larger than Peaks, it’s an island community all the same.

Peaks Island DockWhile on vacation I was thinking about small businesses and social networking (doesn’t everyone?).

On Peaks and the Vineyard there are lots of businesses working very successfully. These companies don’t have major ad campaigns, a blog or a Twitter account. What they do have is a good service that people like. Something different than what anyone else is doing. I bet if we did a case study of businesses on islands we would find out quickly that poorly run ones don’t last long.

Successful island businesses must be doing a few things right to stay alive. They:

  • Provide a service that people need (or want).
  • Have good customer service
  • Are Transparent (How often do you not see the owner of the general store on an island working there?)

How does your business stack up to this?

  • Are you providing a service people need? Or did you create a service or product and are now trying to find consumers to use it?
  • What is your customer service like? What if that customer on the phone or in your inbox lived up the street from you and not 500 miles away? Would you treat them the same way?
  • Do people know who you are? – I’m not saying make everything your business does public. But do you have a blog? Are you telling the truth in it? Are you reaching out to customers with Twitter? Don’t worry if people will think it’s silly. Worry that your customers won’t see you reaching out to them.

Could your business survive in an island community? There are thousands of things that make your business what it is today. This is just a pulse check that your core is rock solid too!